Physicians and Surgeons

A Physician or Surgeon (M.D.) is an individual issued a license allowing them to practice medicine. A physician may diagnose, prescribe, and administer treatment to individuals suffering from injury or disease.

Special Permits

Special Permits are issued to international physicians who are not currently eligible for a Physician’s and Surgeon’s License in California. You must be sponsored by a medical school, hospital, or an approved fellowship training program in California. These permits authorize you to practice medicine only within the sponsoring medical school and any of its affiliated institutions. Depending upon the type of Special Program, there may be supervision requirements, limits on permitted activities, or eligibility limits based on U.S. citizenship.

Special Faculty Permit

If you are an internationally trained physician who is sponsored by the dean of a California medical school, has been recognized as academically eminent in your field of specialty by the Board, and does not currently meet the requirements for medical licensure in California, you may be issued a Special Faculty Permit ( Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 2168). The permit authorizes you to practice medicine only within the sponsoring medical school and any of its affiliated institutions. You shall not be appointed to a position as a division chief or head of a department without written authorization from the Board.

To begin the application process, the sponsoring medical school must submit an application, the application and initial licensing fees, and supporting documentation on behalf of the fellow.

To be eligible for a Special Faculty Permit, you shall have:

  1. Been offered a full-time appointment at the level of full professor in a tenure track, or equivalent, at a California medical school approved by the Board and must not be otherwise eligible for medical licensure in California;
  2. Received all of your medical school education from, and graduated from, a medical school recognized or approved by the Board;
  3. Completed at least three years of basic postgraduate residency training;
  4. A license to practice medicine in another state, Canadian province, foreign country, or other jurisdiction;
  5. Not held a position under Section 2113 of the California BPC within the two years immediately preceding the date of the application for a Special Faculty Permit;
  6. A United States Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) prior to the issuance of a license;
  7. Received fingerprint clearances from the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prior to the issuance of a permit.

Note: Time spent in a faculty position shall not be counted toward the postgraduate training required for licensure and shall not qualify you to be waived of any written examination required for licensure.

Special Program Permit

Special Programs 2111 – Postgraduate Medical School Study by Non-Citizens

If you are not a citizen of the United States but who meet the requirements and who seek postgraduate study in an approved medical school may be permitted to participate in professional activities in the California medical school to which they are appointed (BPC section 2111). You will be under the direction of the head of the department to which you are appointed and will be known as a “visiting fellow.” Approval may be granted for a maximum of three years and shall be renewed annually.

To begin the application process, the sponsoring medical school must submit an application, the application and initial licensing fees, and supporting documents on your behalf.

To qualify for Special Program Permit Pursuant to BPC section 2111 you shall have:

  1. Received all of their medical school education from, and graduated from, a medical school recognized or approved by the Medical Board of California (Board);
  2. Completed at least three years of basis postgraduate residency training;
  3. A United States Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) prior to the issuance of the permit;
  4. Received fingerprint clearances from the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prior to the issuance of a permit.

Note: Time spent under appointment in a medical school may not be used to meet the requirements for licensure.

Special Programs 2112 – Participation in Fellowship Program by Non-Citizens

If you are not a citizen of the United States and are seeking postgraduate study, you may be permitted to participate in a fellowship program in a specialty, or subspecialty, field providing your program is in a hospital in California which is approved by the Joint Commission and providing the service (BPC section 2112). You shall be under the direction and supervision of a licensed and board-certified physician and surgeon who is recognized as an outstanding specialist in the field in which the international fellow is to be trained.

You may not engage in the practice of medicine or receive compensation.

The Permit is issued for a period of one year but may be renewed annually up to four times. To begin the process, the sponsoring hospital must submit an application, fees, and supporting documents on your behalf.

To qualify for Special Program Permit Pursuant to BPC 2112 you shall have:

  1. Received all of your medical school education from, and graduated from, a medical school recognized or approved by the Board.
  2. A United States Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) prior to the issuance of a license.
  3. Received fingerprint clearances from the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prior to the issuance of a permit.

Note: The time spent under appointment in a medical school may not be used to meet the requirements for licensure.

Special Programs 2113 – Certificate of Registration to Practice Incident to Duties as Medical School Faculty Member

If you do not immediately qualify for a physician’s and surgeon’s license and are offered a full-time faculty position, you may be granted a certificate of registration to engage in the practice of medicine only to the extent that the practice is incident to and a necessary part of your connection with the faculty position (BPC section 2113). The certificate of registration does not authorize you to admit patients to a nursing or a skilled or assisted living facility unless that facility is formally affiliated with the sponsoring medical school. A clinical fellowship shall not be submitted as a faculty service appointment.

The Board may consider using the 2113 faculty service time towards the two year postgraduate training that is required for licensure for International Medical Graduates.

To begin the application process, the sponsoring medical school must submit an application, the application and initial licensing fees, and supporting documentation on your behalf.

To qualify for Special Program Permit Pursuant to BPC 2113 you shall have:

  1. Received all of your medical school education from, and graduated from, a medical school recognized or approved by the Board;
  2. Completed at least three years of basic postgraduate residency training;
  3. A United States Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) prior to the issuance of a license;
  4. Received fingerprint clearances from the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) prior to the issuance of a permit.